So we all know that friendship matters. We’ve all experienced moments where we felt lonely and just wanted a friend, whether it was that first day of school after moving to a new town as a kid or starting college or a new job. Friendship has been proven over and over again to be a defining factor in our overall health and happiness. So if it is so important, why do we all seem to be so terrible at making and maintaining friendships? Whenever I talk to anyone who is willing to open up about things, they mention a desire to have more time for friendships, or more fulfilling friendships. Some people express the negative version saying that they feel lonely, or disconnected. How often do we happen to run into someone we genuinely like and express remorse about not connecting with them more?
Thoughts like this keep me up at night…literally. Pretty consistently I wake up at 3 am and want to know the answers to these things. So I read books, I read studies, I listen to TED Talks.
This would be a very long list if I included everything I’ve read or listened to, so I decided to just share the top talks that have had an impact on me.
A New Definition of Frienship by Sean Lukasik
This talk points out why we can have friends yet still feel lonely and disconnected. I love that he starts with a great example and defines the kinds of friendships we are all wanting. His point is to be present and actively participating in friendships. This talk is one that I have listened to a few times and each time it reminds me to keep trying. We all have busy lives, it’s hard sometimes to connect with people, but it is totally worth the time to make it happen.
The Simple Cure For Loneliness by Baya Voce
Baya Voce talks about rituals and traditions as “anchors of connection”. This idea applies to more areas than just friendships. It’s what we base communities, schools, families and countries on. I have found that acknowledging that traditions and rituals help us make connections (i.e. friendships) is vital to feeling fulfilled. I bet everyone has had a good friend move away or lost a friendship in some other way. Don’t you feel totally off balance? I always attributed this to just not seeing them regularly, but it is also because the things you did together are no longer happening. Until you find someone to start that tradition with again you feel disconnected (for me that means tired and grumpy). Knowing that we need these traditions and connections is a step in the right direction for feeling happy.
Lessons Learned from Making A New Friend Every Day of the Year by Maria Scileppi
This is one lady’s experience, but the things she learns are great lessons for everyone. She discusses, connection, being open, listening and compassion.
Frientimacy: The 3 Requirements of All Healthy Friendships by Shasta Nelson
I love this one, I saved the best for last. It hits on so many things that make good fulfilling friendships. She points out stuff that we all know, but maybe don’t acknowledge. Which is a big deal, often we know something is off or wrong but don’t know what it is or why. I’ve taught these things to my kids, and it has really made a big difference for them.